Sheffield cabinet member under investigation 'stepped aside' from duties
Councillor Mazher Iqbal has been ‘temporarily stepped aside’ from his duties as Sheffield Council’s Executive Member for City Futures: Development, Culture and Regeneration to allow for the independent investigation to take place into the complaint against him.
Coun Iqbal is under investigation following a complaint of an alleged series of breaches of the code of conduct.
The complaint, submitted by Simon Ogden – former head of regeneration for Sheffield Council – accused Coun Iqbal of ‘a repeated succession of inappropriate behaviour’ which broke codes of conduct and ‘held the regeneration of Sheffield City Centre back’.
These accusations, which Coun Iqbal ‘robustly denies’, include meeting with developers without other officers present and repeated delay and last-minute cancellation of public consultations, at the cost of tens of thousands to the taxpayer.
Councillor Terry Fox, Leader of Sheffield City Council said: “Councillor Iqbal is defending this complaint robustly. However, I have stepped him aside from his duties, whilst the investigation is taking place.
"This will ensure that the investigation does not distract from the important work of the new administration, which will continue to focus on putting Sheffield first.”
During the course of the investigation, Councillor Iqbal’s portfolio duties will be undertaken by the Leader of the Council, Coun Terry Fox and Deputy Leader, Coun Julie Grocutt.
Yesterday Sheffield Lib Dems called for the ‘suspension’ of Councillor Iqbal for the duration of the investigation, and today Sheffield Greens have welcomed his ‘stepping aside’.
Coun Douglas Johnson, who leads the Greens in their co-operative control of the council with Labour, said: “I fully support the decision to suspend Coun Iqbal pending the investigation. This would be standard practice in any other context with such serious allegations. The Leader of the council has done the right thinking in removing Coun Iqbal from duties so it doesn’t prejudice the investigation.”
Due to the confidentiality around the process Sheffield City Council has said it is unable to comment further whilst the investigation is ongoing.